Monday, 25 July 2011

A well-balanced child: caught between armpit & ankle biter

Kids Playing Rock, Paper, Scissors - Royalty Free Clipart Picture
FACT: My big brother once
made me lick a live power cable
and snort black pepper.
Today's UK headlines included an exceptionally un-newsworthy story about Prime Minister David Cameron growing up "in the shadow of" his uber-successful older brother, fellow Eton-educated criminal lawyer, 47-year old Alex Cameron.  

This utterly pointless story did get me thinking about long-standing stereotypes about older, younger and middle children.

I've long been led to believe that middle children like me are supposed to be attention-starved, limelight hogs.  Mind you, it was mainly my older brother and younger sister who told me that.  

Perhaps I deserved it; in one desperate attempt to solicit my older brother's attention, I locked us both in a room and threw the key out of the window so he couldn't escape.  I'd like to say that I was about 7 years old at the time... but that might be a lie...  

You know what?  The worst thing about that situation was the way my brother calmly explained the situation to my little sister through the locked door and off she went scampering into the garden to scoop up the key.  Curse those siblings with their deep connection to each other -  secure and comfortable in their "oldest" or "youngest" status, conspiring to free each other from the bi-polar behaviour of the (admittedly, faintly psycho) older/younger sister.

Poor Hank has also suffered.  He has had to learn to answer the phone calmly when faced with my train station-style announcements for "Attention! Attention!" and we have even re-purposed the term "Attention Deficit Disorder" to describe what happens on days when I am home alone for too long.  

So imagine my relief to read today about a book which claims that middle child-ness might actually give you an advantage in the professional world!  The Dalai Lama, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln and many other over-achievers were middle children, it transpires.  There is hope for me yet!

Few of us will ever have three children, so I guess the playground psychology of sibling precedence is pretty irrelevant to our family planning strategies.  Still, if it makes middle children of my generation feel better (for the first time ever!) about how you grew up -  face sandwiched in the armpit of an older brother whilst your kid sister bit your ankles - please do enjoy reading about how well-balanced you are.

And for readers who are not a middle child, you can play an important role in the healing of a middle child! 


Every hit on this blog is like a hat pin shoved in the voodoo doll of my attention-starved youth.  

I can't thank you enough Classic Yellow Smiley Face Clip art picture.

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